The Struggle Within

As you know, Robin Williams passed away yesterday by taking his own life. This is a terrible tragedy and one that is so hard to understand when he seemed to want for nothing. 

Depression is like that though, a deceitful and sneaky disease. Often it's sufferers exhibit no outwardly obvious signs of it's severity. It is most often a battle fought in the dark corners of a person's mind. It is so powerful and persuasive in it's mission to destroy and it is often successful.

Depression is a cancer of the mind.

I have struggled with depression off and on for many years. Until you've experienced it, it is very hard to comprehend how invasive and manipulative this disease is. I can only describe it as heavy. I looked up the definition of heavy and was surprised to see how many meanings it has both as an adjective and a noun. I'd venture to say that almost each one can relate to depression. 

Depression is like having a 50 pound weight strapped to your back at all times. It's always there, reminding you of it's heaviness every move you make. At times, it's oppression makes it impossible to stand and carry on as normal. This is when the disease is at it's most powerful for it can mottle the thoughts and rational of it's host.

When a person crosses the line and considers ending his/her life, depression has taken the mind hostage. It's infiltration feels like the end of the world and all this person can think about is finding relief. To make matters worse, this disease will deceive it's prisoner by suggesting suicide would be the best course of action to keep loved ones from suffering too. 

I'm guilty of saying that suicide is a selfish act but I was wrong. It may seem that way to those on the outside looking in but what we have to remember is this person is not thinking rationally. He/she is sick, a very real illness of the mind. At this point, he/she is so blinded by the pain and fatigued from the battle that this act is seen more as a self-sacrifice. A way to end the suffering that is affecting everyone around them. The thought that the life of others will be improved if he/she were no longer there to mess things up. To cause more pain and suffering. To steal their happiness. Yes, these are complete and total lies told by depression as suicide leaves a wake of hurt, confusion and destruction for those left behind. If the sufferer truly understood the consequences of this act, would the idea of suicide be so appealing?

We've all known or heard of someone who was terminally ill with some form of physical illness like cancer and chose to end their life, to end the pain and suffering. To keep from being a burden on their loved ones. We can often see why this person would choose such an option when their body is physically evident of their struggle yet, we don't judge them and call them selfish. Why is that? Please do not misunderstand me, I -IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM- believe that suicide is right or OK depending the circumstances. I am only saying that we tend to draw a line out there and when that line is crossed, we react based on our own feelings and understanding. The fact remains, we do not know why a person fighting depression comes to the decision of suicide or what they are truly thinking in that final moment. Our quick judgements can often bring more pain to those who have been left reeling in the aftermath of a loved one's death.

I take medication for treatment of depression. I suffer from a chemical imbalance where my body does not produce enough serotonin that I need. Interestingly enough, 90% of serotonin is located in the GI tract. So what happens when your GI tract rebels and acts out against you? What happens when a disease attacks the GI tract and keeps it from functioning properly? What happens when you loose your colon and large intestine to disease? Is it really any wonder why I struggle with depression? 

This is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. Now, I do know that God can heal this and I am totally open to that but until then, I will continue to treat my depression through the help of doctors. I don't want to get into a debate on how we should believe and trust God for complete healing versus treatment with medicine. I believe that God gave us the understanding and desire to seek knowledge in order to help each other in times of need. I'm in need of treatment for a medical condition and I sought it out via the medical community. I love the Lord 100% and I believe that He is capable of healing me and I trust that He's using modern medicine to help me. There is no shame in dealing with illness. We live in a fallen world and must deal with the consequences of this. Depression is a real sickness and it must be treated as one. 

My heart is truly broken for Robin Williams, his family and friends and I hope and pray they will be comforted during this time of great sadness. Yesterday altered their lives forever. Maybe through this, more awareness will be brought to the seriousness of depression. I think it's our responsibility to honor the struggles people face so that good can come from tragedy.

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